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Proposition 32 would hurt unions

Editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

Editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

Supporters of Proposition 32 claim that the measure will reform local and state elections that are heavily dominated by special-interest money.

But Proposition 32 is just another one-sided measure worded carefully by the wealthy trying to maintain their power.

The measure, if enacted, calls for several provisions: prohibiting corporations and labor unions from contributing to political candidates and ballot measures, prohibiting government contractors from contributing to elected officers and banning all corporations and unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes.

Perhaps the most substantial is the latter.

Though it sounds fair, a majority of the money raised by unions for political spending comes from their members’ payroll deductions. Corporations, on the other hand, rarely ever use them.

The measure inherently limits the approximately 2.5 million California labor union members from having a political voice.

Workers in both the public and private sector would be restricted.

Teachers, firefighters, police and nurses would have less of an influence on issues that affect them as well.

Those in favor of the proposition promise that union workers will be protected, but it would have been more efficient to have a separate mandate for workers wanting an easier way to opt out of having their deductions go toward political purposes.

Keep in mind, most members of a union join voluntarily and if their political stance does not match, they can quit at any time. Current law holds that employee contributions are voluntary.

Eliminating the payroll deductions for those that want to contribute will limit their participation in the political process.

During this election in particular, it has been difficult enough for union members to have their voices heard. Unions sometimes need to rely on union dues while wealthy corporations can provide special interest to the candidate or party they support.

Besides, supporters of the measure have shown no proof that the current system is not working for labor workers.

In addition, super PACs and corporate special interest groups are exempt from the measure, allowing them to raise an unlimited amount of money for political spending. The proposition does not mention independent expenditures.

While the proposition is sure to limit the political fundraising efforts of unions, corporations are insignificantly impacted in comparison.

The proposition skews the political system in favor of corporate special interest groups.

The Los Angeles Times makes note of Proposition 32’s supporters – former Univision CEO A. Jerrold Perenchio and Charles Munger Jr,, both wealthy Republicans who have seen firsthand that corporations rely on their treasuries as opposed to deductions.

Opposers of Proposition 32­ ­– League of Women Voters, Common Cause, California Clean Money Campaign – agree the California elections are in desperate need of reform, according to They believe this measure will only make things worse.

The costs? The Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts the measure to cost Californians about $1 million annually.

The proposition is written to sound impartial, but it is clear that this measure is no campaign reform. Voters should reject this measure.

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